Early Days of Channel Führer

Lyrics

(1)

The snow is all around
Is all around
Like my hat like my hat
The snow is all around
Like my hat
It is also...

...white
And the man who brushes against me
In Heathrow                    
And the man who brushes against me
In beyond Vienna midweek
Is shaggy
(Where's all the choccies gone? Where's all the choccies gone?) (2)
No coffee for me
No room clearance for me
For 
Der Meister is in Heathrow
S.T. rag (3)
My only pal is...
No coffee for me
For I am he
For I am he (4)
For no room clearance for me
For I am he
For I am he
(Fade out) (Shoo)

Notes

1. This is a melancholy song, and perhaps the Channel Führer (a pun on channel four?) is the narrator, although the song doesn't feel like one about "early days," with its wintry setting and often tentative vocals--it has a marked late days feeling. The narrator seems to be an Austrian in some sort of exile in England, or a vacation or business trip that feels like exile.

MES, in this video interview , uses "Channel Führer" as a joking title for television channels (like the History Channel) that constantly play World War Two documentaries (thanks to oldoak for tracking this down).

^

2. This line, which is shrieked quite frantically in the background of the track, is said to be uttered by Ben Pritchard. Perhaps MES (or the band, or a producer) thought the track needed a moment of comic relief. The effect that is being aimed for is not easily diagnosed, but if I had to say why this is here it may be because it conveys the narrator's alienation from his surroundings, as his sad meditation is punctured by cries bespeaking a more trivial and temporary trauma. I'm not so sure that the interpolation works, though; it may be a misfire, but it is at least not a completely uninteresting one.

^ 

3. The Sporting Times? If so, that would put the action in the early days of the historical Fürher, since the British sports paper folded in 1932, the year before Hitler became Chancellor. And it could be the Sunday Times, as a British source I'll call "Dan" informs me.

But this may also refer to Steve Trafford. From Dave Simpson's book The Fallen:

 "...In fact, like Dave Milner, [Steve Trafford] insists he and Smith actually became quite close and that Fall Heads Roll track "Early Days of Channel Fuhrer" originally included a lyric about 'my best friend, Steve' before Smith suddenly wiped it prior to release" (thanks to MandrakeAnthrax).

^

4. This may complete the thought "my only pal is..." which would indicate that the Führer is a regular Timmy No Mates, as the British are fond of saying. But I think it might just be stopping there en route back to "the man who brushes against me," which would make it a more encompassing statement of the narrator's sense of disconnection; the Pritchard line (see note 3 above) then would convey the incongruously jarring effect of the narrator hearing his own voice--not the one in his head that somberly intones the rest of the song,  but the one responsible for the many uncontrollably public self-betrayals that strike an absurd and tinny chord in the midst of the Führer's wistful and slightly self-regarding dirge, just as Pritchard's cries do in MES's song.

^

Comments (16)

Nath Burk
  • 1. Nath Burk | 03/09/2013

Bro', it's Billy no mates, dude. Just had to correct that.

nairng
  • 2. nairng | 27/09/2013

IMHO it's 'snow' in line 1, as in line 4.
This makes me think of Good King Wenceslas, who the snow was all around (deep & crisp & even, if memory serves).
I also reckon he then says "like my HAT", not hands...as in "all around my hat", a folk hit of the seventies by Steeleye Span.
The word "white" is an overdub, I think "the man who brushes against me" is therefore repeated also.

Matt Bradbury
  • 3. Matt Bradbury | 30/09/2013

I think it's "the Meister is in his robe"

For me it's a song about Hitler as a young man, down and out and cutting a sad figure trying to make it as an artist.

That explains the Vienna reference, and then the Meister reference ties in with Hitler's Wagner obsession, Der Meistersinger

Matt Bradbury
  • 4. Matt Bradbury | 30/09/2013

After I posted the comment above, I found this comment on another website discussing this song:

"I actually thought that was a reference to George Tabori's play Mein Kampf, which is about Hitler's early days in Vienna, when he was living in a hostel for the homeless in Vienna while he was trying to start a career as a painter. At the beginning of the play, Hitler comes in and complains about the snow and getting no proper accommodation [see "no room clearance for me"]. The waltz tempo of the song also seemed to fit in the context."

Mark
  • 5. Mark | 03/07/2014

I hear the following:

The snow is all around (is all around)
Just like my hat (like my hat)
The snow is all around
Like my hat
It is also...

And the white brushes against me
In Heathrow
And the man who brushes against me
Is beyond Vienna (...)
Is shaggy
(Where's all the choccies gone? Where's all the choccies gone?)
No coffee for me
No room clearance for me
For...
Der meister is in Heathrow
S.T. ride
My only pal is...
No coffee for me
For I am he
For I am he
For no room clearance for me
For I am he
For I am he

(Whispered) Fade it out... shhh...

bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 15/07/2014

Yes, thats closer than what I had.

Joseph Mullaney
  • 7. Joseph Mullaney | 09/08/2014

`Channel Führer' puts me in mind of the fact that the Nazis occupied the Channel Islands for most of the Second World War.

oldak
  • 8. oldak | 20/10/2014

'Channel Fuhrer' is what MES jokingly called the documentary channels we get here that show endless documentaries about WW2 and, more specifically, about the Nazis. You can hear him say it in this clip (referring to Civilisation channel, but it applies to a number of the history channels here). That show predates the release of Fall Heads Roll.
On MES's left is James Brown (later referred to as "J 'Loaded' Brown" on 'Alton Towers') and on his right is Justin Lee Collins who would later become much more famous as a TV personality and then hated as a wife-beating twat and bullyboy.

bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 27/10/2014

Good catch, oldoak!

MandrakeAnthrax
  • 10. MandrakeAnthrax | 06/10/2015

Re: 4
I'm pretty sure the line "my only pal is" was originally going to be "my only pal Steve", referring to bassist Steve Trafford, as he himself told Dave Simson in The Fallen. If you listen closely you can hear that the word "is" is clearly punched-in.

bzfgt
  • 11. bzfgt | 23/11/2015

Mandrake, what's it say in The Fallen?

MandrakeAnthrax
  • 12. MandrakeAnthrax | 30/11/2015

bzfgt, "...In fact, like Dave Milner, he insists he and Smith actually became quite close and that Fall Heads Roll track "Early Days of Channel Fuhrer" originally included a lyric about "my best friend, Steve" before Smith suddenly wiped it prior to release".
Trafford may have slightly misremembered the actual line.

bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 06/12/2015

Thank you, MA!

dannyno
  • 14. dannyno | 16/08/2016

Another possibility for "ST Rag" might be the The Sunday Times.

Zack
  • 15. Zack | 01/03/2017

As with many Fall songs, there are multiple vocal tracks here that occasionally overlap. "White" at 0:52 appears to be the last word of the previous verse: "Like my hat / It is also [...long pause...] white."

The following verse (ignoring "white" from a different vocal track) appears to begin: "And the man who brushes against me /
In Heathrow / And the man who brushes against me..."
.

bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 03/03/2017

It's too late and I'm too lazy, I took your word for that one. I'm sure if it's flawed we will soon find out.

Add a comment

You're using an AdBlock like software. Disable it to allow submit.